The Oscars were very disappointing this year, not because of the winners/losers which were pretty much expected. The show itself was a stinker, reeking of flop sweat from the ABC arrivals on. But even more disappointing to many was the slim mention of unions, despite the huge outpouring of support from around the world for those staging protests in Wisconsin.
Only Wally Pfister who won for best cinematography mentioned his union crew. Natalie Portman danced around the U-word, thanking her hair and make-up team and costumers, all of whom are union.
And Inception’s Gary Rizzo, who won the Oscar for Best Sound Mixing thanked
all the hard working boom operators and utility sound people that worked on the production crew. Union, of course.
Considering the well-publicized strikes by the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild, plus the Writers’ Guild East’s successful efforts to unionize reality shows, one has to wonder why there weren’t more shout-outs to unions or onstage show of solidarity to the thousands of folks on the rotunda in Madison. In the past, there have speeches with mentions of issues, ribbons, buttons–a sense of concern. Why not now? Is there a new mandate to keep politics of any sort out of the show so as not to enlighten or offend? Isn’t that one of the points of art, even commercial art, to open the audience’s eyes, to comment, to cause change?
Backstage, winner Pfister went more in depth. ABC News reports the Academy Award winner said:
I think that what is going on in Wisconsin is kind of madness right now. I have been a union member for 30 years and what the union has given to me is security for my family. They have given me health care in a country that doesn’t provide health care and I think unions are a very important part of the middle class in America all we are trying to do is get a decent wage and have medical care.
Exactly. Hollywood is union town. So why the silence?
(However,on the progressive upside: Charles Ferguson director of the Oscar-winning Best Documentary Inside Job did land zinger on the banksters:
Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong.
And–while this ideally this shouldn’t be an oh wow moment because LGBT relationships ought to be as unremarkable as straight ones, only until DOMA is passed and all states accept civil union, they won’t be–a wife and a boyfriend were thanked by their same-sex partners.One more step…)
[photo Aron M. via creative commons]